Yesterday I spoke at my High School Alma Mater (the same school my sister currently attends as a junior). We had an alumni panel for a college assembly. As I walk onto the stage (running about 10 late) a 19 year old freshman at some school explains her Greek life. The mic passes around from alum to alum each explaining the goods and bads of college room mates, time management, extra curriculars, etc, until our moderator interrupts the flow for the final question.
He calls on me to shed some perspective to the juniors and seniors applying to college.
I think for a moment about all of the talks I’ve given Madison about finishing strong. I explain to the kids that there is bright light at the end of their tunnel, and that bright light is the awesome experience of college. Right now is the time to push as hard as one can push to reach that goal; it is the time to work harder than ever before; it is the time to bust your ass. As I spoke those words, I felt myself trembling with excitement. I always speak with passion, but this was a different feeling. The shaking was visceral.
A day later, I understand. I was not only speaking to the students of The Meadows School, I was speaking to my fellow travelers, my fellow entrepreneurs.
Life is a long long journey, filled with turns, troughs and tunnels. The tunnel represents the new, an unknown. An undefined journey through darkness with nothing but a flicker of hope to tease. Most stay on the open road, enjoying the comfort of the sun. Many get caught in the tunnel and backtrack to the open. Very few conquer the tunnel to find their way to their light.
The traveler must have faith that at the end of this tunnel lies the road he was destined to walk. Tunnels are intimidating but conviction and belief in the destiny keeps your compass true.
To my sister: push. The end of your tunnel is a bitch, SAT’s are not fun, finishing strong amidst the distractions is never easy, but believe that what you’re working for will be worth it. Believe it is your destiny and fulfill it. Work harder, smarter and finish strong.
To my fellow entrepreneurs: conquer. Our tunnel is the darkest, most daunting and challenging journey of all. We will not stop. We will push harder than anyone else and we will win. We will make it to the light, enjoy it for a brief moment, and find another tunnel to conquer.
True entrepreneurs are born in the tunnel.